ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq's Higher Judicial Council (IHJC) on Thursday sided with a previous vote in the nation's parliament that called for a manual recount of the contested May 12 national elections and for replacing electoral commissioners with judges to be selected in a special meeting to be held on Sunday.
"Judges will be assigned to carry out the work of the Board of Commissioners and supervise the process of manual re-counting and counting of the results of the elections and the naming of judges who will manage the offices of the Electoral Commission in the governorates," said a statement released by the IHJC.
In a majority vote on Wednesday, the Iraqi Parliament decided to freeze the work of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), assigning nine judges to run the commission to facilitate a manual recount of votes for the entire elections process across Iraq.
The resolution, as ratified by the IHJC, will designate nine judges to take over the operation of the electoral commission, and oversee the recount.
The measures include canceling votes cast by Iraqis living abroad, those living in camps displaced from the provinces of Anbar, Salahuddin, Nineveh, and Diyala, early votes cast by security forces in the Kurdistan Region.
"To give a message of reassurance to the public opinion and all the competing candidates and to not allow any of various parties to intervene or attempt to influence the work of the judiciary on the subject of elections," said Thursday's statement, adding that measures such as shutting off judicial council members' phones had been enacted.
Calls for a recount have been mounting since the election was held, with multiple charges of electoral fraud being bandied about, though the exact nature and mechanism of the alleged fraud is often not specified.
The most common claim is the malfunction or intentional misuse of electronic voting devices, used at Iraqi polling stations for the first time in May's election.